- Alibaba may have created the Singles Day sales event and racked up a record $31 billion in sales this year, but competitor JD.com also scored $23 billion in transaction volume during the event, the company said in a press release.
- JD.com, which is a leader in artificial intelligence and blockchain technology, worked closely with other brick-and-mortar retailers for its Singles Day Shopping Festival, the company said. During the sales event, which started on Nov. 1, brands such as Apple, Dell, Dyson, L'Oréal, SK-II and Pampers saw strong sales, and products from the U.S., Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and South Korea were popular.
- The dynamic is similar to Amazon's Prime Day, where Amazon saw revenues of over $4 billion, but other retailers like Target and Walmart ran promotions that week too to push their own e-commerce sales. Coupon site RetailMeNot, said 54% of retailers were planning Prime Day deals this year.
For retailers of significant size, like Amazon and Alibaba, self-created sales events have worked so well that their competitors schedule their own promotional events on those days. Alibaba competitor JD.com even created its own 618 Shopping Festival, June 2-18, ringing up $26.6 billion in sales this year, up 37% from last year, Coresight Research reported. This was in addition to JD's involvement in the Singles Day Shopping Festival, which ran 11 days starting Nov. 1.
Prime Day sales at large retailers of over $1 billion in annual revenue increased 54%, said Adobe Analytics, while smaller niche retailers of less than $5 million in annual revenue saw an 18% decrease in online sales. JD.com's $23 billion Singles Day event this year represented a 27% increase over last year, TechCrunch reported.
For Singles Day the e-tailer touted its relationship with brands, saying it gives JD an advantage. "There is a noticeable shift in China toward quality over price, which we see in the growing numbers of consumers who are willing to pay more for branded and imported goods," Lei Xu, CMO of JD.com and CEO of JD Mall, said in the press release. "By establishing trust with consumers and brands, thanks to our zero-tolerance policy toward fakes and our innovations in areas such as blockchain traceability for product safety, JD is in a unique position to meet that demand."
JD.com has been aggressively pursuing and expanding its tech capabilities, with spending rising over 70% in the second quarter over last year, at a cost of $400 million, noted TechCrunch. In one case, it partnered with investors Walmart and Tencent Holdings to share operational systems and customer data in an attempt to gain ground on Alibaba. Walmart and JD will integrate their customer loyalty systems for stores in China and are developing a program for JD to fulfill orders with inventory from Walmart.
JD has also teamed up with Fung Retailing, an operator of about 3,000 stores globally, to build a research and development center dedicated to developing artificial intelligence projects and the sharing of AI information and expertise. Additionally, the company with China Overseas Land and Investment to open hundreds of unmanned convenience stores using facial recognition technology that allows customers to pay without standing in a checkout line.
JD also said in its press release that it opened its largest 7Fresh store — an offline fresh food supermarket — on Singles Day. In addition to its many deals on food and other types of brands, JD is offering its Retail as a Service (RaaS) strategy to bring its infrastructure and technology to other retailers, the press release said. Over 600,000 offline stores now use technology and infrastructure from JD to draw traffic to their own Singles Day promotions.